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RAY HARRYHAUSEN: SPECIAL EFFECTS TITAN (2011)

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RAY HARRYHAUSEN: SPECIAL EFFECTS TITAN (2011)

Sunday, 17 November 2013 19:15

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Written by 

The Buzz:

 

     A documentary looking at the work and influence of the grandfather of stop-motion animation – Ray Harryhausen. With interviews from many acclaimed directors of modern films discussing how their pictures could have never existed if it weren't for this incredibly talented man.

 

 

Life of the Party:

 

     The real treat of this film is seeing so much of Harryhausen's work in one single place. In this documentary we get to see behind the scenes footage of most of his films as well as see exactly how he pulled off some of the movie magic he pioneered. This really showcases how much of a one-man talent he really was. He drew all his own storyboards, creature concept artwork, designed the riggings for the creatures that would allow them to move (though they were largely manufactured by his father in the early years, based on Ray's designs) and he sculpted and painted the latex molds that would eventually bring the creatures to life. He also developed his own editing tricks, camera tricks, and animated each frame by hand himself. While never the writer or the director of any of his films, it is important to understand that so much of Harryhausen went into each picture he was a part of that they are ALL referred to as HIS pictures as opposed to any other person involved with it's production.

 

     Though I have always been a fan of his work; I've never stopped to consider how modern filming techniques, how things are animated, and even so far current special effects including CGI came about due to Ray Harryhausen. And then when you realize that this is all because of one man who worked tirelessly and passionately... not a team of people... One man. This documentary really upgraded the level of reverence I had for this great master of cinema.

 

 

Come on get on the floor... everybody walk the dinosaur...

 

Potential Hangovers:

 

     This film didn't look as deeply into the films themselves as much as I would have liked. There's definitely lots of neat tidbits of data about each of his movies, but I feel like they could have delved in a bit more. Instead you get too much of other directors and special effects artists kissing Ray's ass. While it is, as I said above, nice to here how he influenced modern films, I really felt like that could have been it's own portion towards the end of the documentary and taken up maybe 20 minutes of run time instead of being a constant throughout. Most anyone who's seen Clash of the Titans or 7th Voyage of Sinbad know how awesome Harryhausen is in terms of the end results we saw on screen. What most people have always wondered is... how did he get to that point? What was the process? And the bits of the documentary that focus on that were much much to short and shallow.

 

 

Luckily the cyclops' depth perception was WAY off...

 

The Vibe: Solo Experience

 

While I'm sure that there are groups of cinemaphiles like us here at Tanked Matinee that would sit down in a casual group and watch something about Ray Harryhausen, I have no misplaced delusions that such a group is common place. More than likely you want to sit down and pay homage to this great man, or maybe just learn more about him since many people now a days don't know who the hell he is! And if you have time to kill and want to do that... this is a good watch. I enjoyed it and I think any fan of classic films will also. That being said, it's not going to liven up a room or even be the best documentary you've ever seen. It's in all ways mediocre in those respects, but because it's subject matter is so mind blowingly awesome... it's a must watch.

 

 

Drinking Games:

 

- Every time James Cameron doesn't know what he's talking about.

- Every time fat Peter Jackson is on screen instead of skinny Peter Jackson

- Every time John Landis mentions one of his own films.

- Every time Star Wars or Lord of the Rings is mentioned or seen on screen.

HARDCORE MODE: Drink every time a Harryhausen creature is on screen.

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About Us

Tanked Matinee is the place to go for good drinking movies. What do we mean by that? Simply speaking, we evaluate and recommend entertainment media based on how much fun it is to watch with friends on the sofa and a cold beer in hand.

Everyone knows "The Godfather" is a great movie, but is it as great to drink with as "Roadhouse?" We can appreciate "Citizen Kane" as a masterpiece of cinema, but is it as good a centerpiece for your party as "Santa Clause Conquers the Martians?"

Tanked Matinee appreciates film as art, but when you're kicking back on Friday night with a tall Rum & Coke, you're not looking for art, man, you want to be entertained. We're here to recommend the best movies for your night in, whether it's a big party, small get-together, or just a quiet night alone with a bottle of wine or three.

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